Timely Intelligence Dissemination
Samuel K. Lartey
Student ID: 5735147
Research Design and methods
American Public University System
Instructor: James Hess, PH.D.
27 October 2018
The intelligence, information sharing, and timely dissemination within the intelligence community provide necessary methods to allow efficient, protection, delivery, response, and feedback of relevant information and activities relating to national security and foreign affairs. The information sharing, intelligence, and dissemination are tasked across the intelligence community to include the federal, state, local governments, and the private sector. The purpose of timely sharing and dissemination is to smooth the distribution of timely and relevant information to customers and relevant parties who need it to be able to analyze, make significant discussions and prevent another catastrophic attack. Basically, the goal is to get the right information to the right people at the right time without any glitch. An effective intelligence and information sharing system will provide strong, reliable, and effective information connection and relations between those responsible for gathering information, analysts and consumers. With an effective dissemination system, feedback should be provided to further continue to improve and allow for necessary communications in addition to the regulate the flow of information and intelligence. To prevent future terrorist attacks and breach of national security, the first line of defense, which is intelligence, need to be effective using and applying efficient intelligence disciplines to collaborate intelligence and share timely information across all domains. This research focuses on the importance of timely dissemination using the rational theory and secondary data analysis.
Timely Intelligence Dissemination
The intelligence, information sharing, and timely dissemination within the intelligence community provide necessary methods to allow efficient, protection, delivery, response, and feedback of relevant information and activities relating to national security and foreign affairs. The information sharing and dissemination are tasked across the intelligence community to include the federal, state, local governments, and the private sector. The purpose of timely sharing and dissemination is to smooth the distribution of relevant, timely, and actionable to customers and relevant parties who need it to be able to analyze, make significant discussions and prevent another catastrophic attack. Basically, the goal is to get the right information to the right people at the right time without any glitch.
An effective intelligence and information sharing system will provide strong, reliable, and effective information connection and relations between those responsible for gathering information, analysts and consumers. With an effective dissemination system, feedback will be provided to further continue to improve and allow for necessary communications in addition to the regular flow of information and intelligence. To prevent future terrorist attacks and breach of national security, the first line of defense, which is intelligence, need to be effective using and applying efficient intelligence disciplines to collaborate intelligence and share timely information across all domains. This research focuses on the importance of timely dissemination using the rational theory and secondary data analysis.
Before a customer receives their information, it needs to be examined and classified accordingly. Without the appropriate classification, information may or may not get to the customer. Therefore, classifying information according to the customer needs is important. “Deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time.
Intelligence is responsive to requirements. Precise knowledge and understanding of customer requirements are essential to developing and achieving the objective” (Intelligence, 2010). Sometimes information may be under classified to reach a wider range of customers or over classified to protect information. However, to what extent can information be timely shared widely within the intelligence community of risking a compromise? The purpose of this research is to describe the main causes of untimely information sharing within the intelligence community. From collection sources, infrastructure, interpretation of data, reports generated and issued, query, weather, classification, and the environment are some variables that need to be understood in the intelligence process.
“Gardner (1999) defined intelligence as the ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture; in other words, intelligence is a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life”. As such, the timeliness is gathering and sharing of intelligence is vital. Intelligence is valued if only it can be distributed with customers who need it in a timely manner. The purpose of the intelligence process is to provide customers with timely, relevant, and accurate information. The process seems simple but sometimes, before customers receive their products, intelligence might be late.
To be able to address the intelligence process without any glitches and serve customers in a timely manner, dependent variables such as human error or tools used need to be user-friendly and efficient. We do not live in a perfect world and considering natural conditions; it is difficult to meet customer needs on time. Moreover, the organizational goals of the various intelligence communities may take priority.
Intelligence failures can be seen through our history especially Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The failure was attributed poor analysis and mainly timely sharing of information. In between these two attacks, numerous terrorist attacks have occurred outside the United States (U.S.) mainly targeting the nations embassies. For instance, a major attack was plotted by al-Qaeda in 1998 on two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. This was once again attributed lack of information sharing on how poor the physical security infrastructure was and surveillance which was not properly analyzed and shared. Intelligence failure has therefore become more serious due to not sharing information at all or not timely.
Defending the country from growing international threats requires a reinforced homeland security initiative that shares information across organizational boundaries. The intelligence community has been the body of increased scrutiny before and since 9/11. Criticism has been focused largely on the failure of intelligence agencies to gather enough information to predict attacks. Effective prevention, protection, recovery, and timely response of terrorism depends on timely, accurate, actionable, and sharing of information. This information that is shared and provided should serve as a guide for efforts to identify quickly immediate and future threats and identify the personnel involved in terrorism related activities.
Intelligence is derived by collecting, analyzing, disseminating, and continuing assessing appropriate information. This process is a shared effort and understanding from the intelligence community, federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities. Over the years, monitoring terrorist activities fell on the shoulders of the intelligence community with less or no information shared outside the community. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 brought attention to the need and the relevance of timely sharing and collaborating within the intelligence community and other stakeholders involved. Important intelligence that may caution of a future attack may be derived from information collected by state and local government personnel through crime control and activities. Additionally, people living and working in our local communities may be of help to provide information if they are involved in this process. Effective counterterrorism efforts entail that, there are collaboration between the federal, state, local, and the private sector whiles ensuring timely and effective information sharing.
The intelligence process regulates how the intelligence community function daily. The intelligence process begins with the need for intelligence from customers such as policymakers. Recognizing the need means describing objectives to which intelligence might make an impact. This also includes identifying methods of collection and setting priorities within the capabilities of your collection tools. Once these parameters are established, intelligence is collected. Due to mission requirements and customer needs, some collection might take several days depending on several modes of collection deliberating on weather conditions and terrain. Therefore, it is paramount to know the requirements, capabilities, duration, and methods of acquiring information of different collection methods.
Over the past decade, the means of collection has changed, and ways of sharing information have become more extensive yet restricted. For instance, more methods such as signal and open source are more used than human intelligence (HUMINT). This could be due to the rapid, effective, and controlled ways of a collection. Nonetheless, the use of HUMINT faces more risk, and the value of information provided by HUMINT could be questionable due to factors such as religious reasons, personal relationships, and ethical reasons. “As technology changed, the reliance on electronic means became more prevalent. This allowed for less human interaction, and for distance to be employed in gathering data” (Lewis, 2016. P.3). It is Understood that various means of collection are used within the intelligence community based on goals and requirements. But there needs to be a way to fuse all data, analyze, and share information.
Once data is collected, it must undergo processing and manipulation. This process includes decryption, translation, and interpretation of the information collected. An interesting factor in this process is, there are technologies in place to interpret in a timely manner but not exact. Therefore, to get the most accurate information during the translation and interpretation, a linguist needs to interpret it. This brings about the human factor as other factors may set in as biases or ethical reasons. Reports may be generated to an analyst to add on to other information for analysis.
While these processes are in effect, analyst query other databases for other information. The queries could take a few minutes to days before results are generated. This could be due to collection sites, weather, environment etc. As such, if there is no information or results, analyst request for information. For example, in a deployed environment, an analyst does not have all the tools and information and therefore need to request information from the home station. Taking time difference into consideration, information could be delayed. “Unfortunately, the availability of so many new sources of data and the continuing rapid proliferation of them has made integration of these sources in a timely fashion a significant challenge” (Kimmons, Makuta, & Gilmer, 2017, p3). As an analyst, you ought to know what tool or type of query to perform to fit customer needs. It is also on the intelligence community to make tools known to the analyst, educate them, and the functionality of tools developed.
In today’s interrelated world, every second can make a difference in either preventing an attack, incident, or responding to an event that affects the nation’s infrastructure. The ability of federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners to share accurate information quickly is essential to the nation’s security and resilience. Intelligence fusion is the process of handling the data flow and information across all members of the intelligence community to include the state, local departments and the private sector to support the rapid identification of emerging terrorist activities and other situations demanding involvement of government agencies and the private sector. Intelligence fusion is a clearly defined, ongoing process that involves the definition of roles and responsibilities. In the article “Closing the gaps in information and intelligence dissemination”, the author recommends the value of the intelligence fusion centers and how it has helped bridged the unknown to know. Although the author acknowledges there more ways to go, it suggested timely dissemination of information is important to policy makers making relevant decision making to protect the country and allies. The intelligence fusion process is a vital part of our nation’s homeland security efforts. The process supports the operational risk, prevention of information, and the consequences associated with it. At the same time, it supports efforts to report abrupt and developing threat related situations and activities. Though the collection, analysis, and dissemination of terrorist activities intelligence is not the primary goal of the fusion process, the key results should be identification of terrorist activities either eminent or in the future. This process however influence information and intelligence developed through these processes and systems to support the rapid identification of patterns and trends that may be revealing of an emerging threat condition.
The disastrous events of 9/11 proved that the U.S. needed superior integration across the intelligence community and improved information sharing to respond to evolving threats and to support new homeland security customers. The new threat environment we face is dynamic. Thus, adversaries and their motivations, tactic, and techniques develop rapidly. Our enemies attain technological advantage through the rapid adjustment and revision of telecommunication products and services and commercial information. Presently, intelligence must move faster and leverage all sources of intelligence information available.
In this dynamic environment, it is authoritative that all participants exchange information expeditiously and precisely. Intelligence Community personnel need to understand where and why information is needed. Analysts and collectors need to be able to piece fragments of information together from all intelligence sources. Intelligence consumers need to interact with the Intelligence Community to focus intelligence on the specific problems at hand. Moreover, in today’s environment the traditional lines between foreign and domestic, strategic and tactical, intelligence and operations, and customer and producer are blurring, creating an imperative to improve integration between National and Departmental intelligence programs. “The success of joint and multinational operations and interorganizational coordination hinges upon timely and accurate information and intelligence sharing. To prevail, the JFC’s decision and execution cycles must be consistently faster than the adversary’s and be based on better information. Being faster and better requires having unfettered access to the tasking, collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination of information derived from all available sources” (Joint Intelligence, 2013). Meeting these needs requires development of a culture that values sharing information with those who need it, and providing them with the training, policies, laws, processes, and information technologies necessary to distribute their knowledge.
One of the key challenges moving forward with improved information sharing is to manage risk properly considering the importance of data protection and mission efficiency. A new culture of collaboration and risk management will require trust between analyst, organizations, and relevant partners involved. The need-to-know mentality within the intelligence community and its partners has protected sources and methods over the years to minimize risk and cause damage to the state. In today’s environment, the risks associated with not sharing or untimely dissemination may lead to missing information or improper analysis of an attack which may put our nation in jeopardy.
True information sharing ensures that all essential contributors in the intelligence community and supporting elements collects, analysis, timely disseminate, and receive feedback to continue to improve on methods and techniques. In all, information and data must be available through an accessible infrastructure of the intelligence community that supports information detection, recovery, collaboration, and sharing. If intelligence were shared without using proper procedures and channels, then there will be compromises and the national security will be at risk. The variables above ensure timely dissemination of information is paramount to our intelligence community and ensures protection of our national security. Additionally, history points us to share to prevent another chaotic disaster either on the homeland or embassies. Negulescu (2011) suggest sharing on information to relevant parties should be done case by case. Although her assessment is based in a tactical environment which the environment dictates, it is supreme to share information in a strategic setting to combat terror and protect the homeland. Time and time again when the nation is under attack, investigation has pointed to poor intelligence analysis and not sharing information to relevant parties. It is therefore a must to reconsider how information is analyzed and shared plus over and under classification of some documents.
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